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Myanmar Makes Step Forward towards Legal Gambling Offerings with Approved Bill

Myanmar is well on its way to introduce major changes to its entertainment industry with the help of the recently greenlighted Gambling Bill 2018 which is going to prepare the field for an appropriate and updated set of rules applicable. The bill proposed back in August has the main objective to provide amendments to the existing Gambling Act of 1986, as well as propel ahead development of the future gaming sector.

This week brought revolutionary news for the gaming field of the Asian country since it is placing the country in a whole new direction. Introduction of properly regulated gambling field to the region has the potential to bring significant cash flow to Myanmar’s coffers and subsequently a boost to its economy. At the moment there are gaming venues operating in an illegal manner in Tanintharyi Region and Shan State. Illegal operation is taking its toll on the local economy and as a result, the country loses a large amount of capital which could be otherwise utilized.

Myanmar Set to Welcome Casino Venues

Casino venues which would be established with the help of this new framework would dedicate their offerings to foreigners solely and aim to attract tourists from neighboring countries. Myanmar has neighboring countries such as India and Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos, as well as China, all countries which are ready to explore the casino field and reap the benefits from it.

However, the existence of gaming offerings in some of them does not mean that their residents will not be interested in giving new casino venues a try, which is the main driving force of Myanmar’s groundbreaking project. The Lower House Parliament gave its nod to the proposed by the Public Affairs Committee of Lower House Parliament bill, but there are details to it which should be taken into account.

The approved bill is not a gambling law and should not be perceived as one, as it solely authorizes the construction of gambling facilities at chosen locations. Since its initial proposal the bill underwent several changes, but in its essence, it should not be considered a gambling law. The devising of such would involve more work and prolonged discussions which aim to meet the high standards established by neighboring countries, as to maintain Myanmar’s competitiveness.

Essentially, the Gambling act 2018 should be considered a mandatory prerequisite for the introduction of a Gambling Law regulating the future field. According to the approved bill’s language, the Internal Revenue Department overseen by the Ministry of Planning and Finance would have the exclusive rights to manage the future State lottery operation and develop its offerings.

Further Regulation Work Would Take Place

This spring lawmakers were also considering amendments to the existing Hotel and Tourism Law which would allow gaming venues to be constructed in an already operating hotel venue as well as permit integrated resorts to be built. The considered areas for casino venues constructions would be ones near the borders, providing foreigners with easy access to the premium locations.

As previously confirmed by Kyaw Soe Lin, Secretary of the Committee of Myanmar, foreigner-only casinos would aim to attract tourists from China and Thailand, all willing to explore the offerings provided by a brand new market. What should be taken into account, is that Thailand is still mulling over its own gambling field and there has not been much progress made in the past years.

Chinese nationals would also benefit from the casino introduction in Myanmar, since they would not have to travel all the way to the Macau Special Administrative Region. Myanmar welcomed about 184,000 Chinese tourists in 2016, as well as 243,000 Thai travelers. Bearing these figures in mind, the government considers their proposed move a winning bet.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.